peeps: Carol Kilgore
Carol Kilgore’s first published short story won the Derringer Award for Best Short-Short Mystery. She continued writing short fiction for a few years and enjoyed some success as a freelancer before giving it all up for her true love: novels.
Her debut novel, In Name Only, was the fifth she had written. She writes a blend of mystery, suspense, and romance she calls “Crime Fiction with a Kiss.” Always at least one crime; always a love story.
As the wife of a Coast Guard officer, Carol has lived all over the U.S. She and her husband now live in a San Antonio suburb, sharing their home and patio with two active herding dogs that guard her every move.
How Carol Got Started Self-Publishing
First is what she writes, her Crime Fiction with a Kiss, which is not a recognized genre. She writes novels with strong romantic elements, not true crime fiction. “There is too much romance for mystery and too strong a mystery/suspense plot for romance,” she points out. “My work doesn’t slide into the romantic suspense slot, either, because there isn’t a 50/50 split; the mystery/suspense drives the plot, not the romance.”
The state of the publishing industry is her second major influence. With work that falls between genres or mixes them up, it’s even more difficult to break into traditional publishing than it already is. She observes that in the present market climate, “publishers seem to want not only great stories that will sell but also stories that are easy to shelve.”
“Right now I publish exclusively on Amazon,” Carol says. “I am pretty much a techie idiot, but even I found the process there to be straightforward and easy.”
To date, she has self-published a single title, but a second one is quickly moving through the pre-publication pipeline and is scheduled to be released in April.
Hire an editor. “You must be willing to invest in yourself. This will be the best investment in yourself and your new career that you can make. Save up if you need to. Ask the editor if she will work with you on a payment plan. Find an editor who gets your work. Not all are equal.”
Hire a professional cover designer, especially if you write fiction. “Spend the time online looking at portfolios for covers you love. That’s the designer you want. This is the second best investment you can make.”
If you need to, hire a formatter. “I needed to. Most writers have the ability to do this for themselves. I’m certain I could have figured it out, but this kind of thing makes me crazy, so for me the benefit was worth the expense.”
If you have questions, ask them. “More and more writers are taking the self-publishing path for at least part of their work. What comes easily to one will be more difficult for another. But someone will have the answers you’re looking for. For the most part, writers are generous souls who don’t mind helping others.”